A changing of the guard…

20 Aug

In some ways it feels like the changing of the guard.

With long and established careers behind them some of Australians veteran journalists are opting for redundancies as part of the shake-up of Fairfax and News Limited. The latest is Malcolm Brown, who worked at The Sydney Morning Herald for 40 years. As part of his signing off he penned his personal story about his early disillusionment with his chosen career and his subsequent decision to stick with it.

The changes in media are starkly highlighted by Brown’s recollection on arriving in Sydney where he ” set off for Broadway to ask for a job at The Sydney Morning Herald,” and landed one. That’s certainly not a story that’s likely to be repeated in the future.

But he also had some reflections on what he hoped would not change, a journalist’s privelege and some experienced insights into the notion of objectivity:

All that is up in the air now, with the media responding to the challenge of rapidly evolving technology. The form in which the news is delivered will change. But the same principles will still apply. The concept of ”objectivity” is itself too simplistic. The reality is that everything is subjective, the very decision to report something at all, how to report it, who to interview, what to include and leave out, is a personal decision influenced by personal values. But there is still an internal compass, where a reporter knows what is fair. And there was so much that could be done positively: to take over reporting a situation, be it court case, inquest, royal commission, war, coup d’etat, or disaster, and to invite public trust in your ability to inform is truly an awesome privilege.



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